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Samsung i5700

At first glance, it’s not hard to see why the Samsung i5700 can be so easily compared with the HTC Hero. Both handsets are Android devices and are fairly similar in terms of size, weight and specification. However, this is where the similarity ends, as the phone does not have to spend long in your possession before it feels rather like a cheap imitation, or even a ‘poor man’s Hero’.

It would be unfair not to appreciate the large 3.2” screen which allows for a visually impressive browsing experience. The clarity and brightness of the display are both unquestionably refined, and as such provide an impressive canvas for the customers’ perusal of web content. It is, therefore, a great shame that the touch-screen interface feels both un-responsive and tiresomely inaccurate. For instance, when scrolling through the main menu it is almost impossible to find an area on the screen where you feel completely in control. My frustration soon turned to anger when I found myself constantly opening unwanted apps or selecting the wrong menu items.

Of course, you could solve this problem by opting to use the directional Keypad and Select button. The internal 800 MHz CPU ensures that navigating through the handset in this way is extremely quick, but I would have much rather have seen this feature work properly, as other phones have proved with seemingly minimal effort.

The phone also features an adequate 3.2 mp auto focus camera with video recording, but astonishingly provides no adjustment settings whatsoever. Consequently, the process of actually taking a picture is quite literally a ‘point & click’ affair, certainly not what we’ve come to expect from modern camera phones, especially from such a reputable manufacturer. The image quality is distinctly average, whilst the ‘Camera’ button remains painfully unresponsive; this requires that you keep a steady hand just to increase the chances that a photo is worth keeping.

Encouragingly, DivX and xvid video support could be a major advantage for people who can’t or don’t have time to convert video formats. With much regret, I could not test this feature but if it works effectively then it certainly gives us food for thought when comparing it to other handsets with similar compatibility.

Whilst the Android Market Place provides a marvellous library, where one can find an App for almost anything, the featured list on the device is somewhat disappointing. I expected far more web-based content to be pre-installed and ready to use.

I would surmise that the Samsung i5700 is a great way to experience Android for those of us with low to mid range budget. The handset will inevitably appeal to those who have experienced products from Samsung before. However, I fear that most customers will come away with a sense of resentment, as a lack of basic camera functions and smooth operation detract from the instantly congenial prettiness and sleek design which has become synonymous with Samsung.

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